Some Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the AU

02 Aug 2013
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In May this year, the OAU/AU will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its establishment in 1963. As many anniversaries, the 50th anniversary is the time for celebration and reflections. Fifty years in the life of an organization, representing more than one-fourth of the members of the United Nations and in fastly changing world, is not perhaps too long period to take pessimistic or
optimistic views of its achievements or on the future of Africa.


Africans are not unaware of its successes, weaknesses and failures of the organization. Whatever are the views this anniversary has a special and great significance in African history.


It is appropriate, therefore to seize the occasion of this anniversary to take stock of our organization’s activities and actions through the past fifty years and their influence on the millions of Africans across the continent. A genuine and deep appraisal of Africa’s efforts during the past five decades assists us
appreciate and consolidate which are of value and identify those areas of challenges to be addressed though joint efforts within our organization – the Africa Union and in the context of the international organizations.


There are of course valid reasons to celebrate because of what has been achieved in the past fifty years during which a large number of African countries gained sovereignty and independence after bitter and protracted struggle waged against colonialism and foreign domination. It is also during this period that African countries, albeit their number is still small and lately, have succeeded in registering fast economic growth, remarkable progress in reducing the levels of extreme poverty and hunger, ignorance and diseases etc.


Looking back over the last 50 years, much can be said about the organization’s activities on a wide-ranging and complex issues. But, a glimpse at its history of the struggle to forge unity and solidarity, and other activities would suffice to make some observations.

    UNDP Special Series for the AU/OAU 50th Anniversary